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Westside Ministries to host open house event
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Westside Ministries' Cameron Martinez helps Maricela Marquez find a warm coat during the coat giveaway the ministry hosts every December. - photo by Journal file photo

For over 30 years, Westside Ministries has opened its doors to the youth of Turlock, providing social and educational opportunities to set them up for success. This week, the organization is inviting the city community to walk through its halls and get an up-close look at the valuable services it provides.

The open house event will provide tours of the facility, which not only feeds close to three hundred children and their families daily, but also provides a safe place for youth to remain active and keep up with school work.

“It’s an opportunity for us to invite the community to see who we are and what we’re about,” said Westside Ministries Assistant Director Arturo Murillo. “We wanted to extend our hands out to different organizations and people in the community, because as times change and people change, it’s important to reestablish those relationships.”

Anyone interested in either volunteering or attending services at Westside Ministries is encouraged to attend the open house, which will also include performances by the organization’s Center for Urban Performance and Service Ministry and a few short testimonies from those who have benefitted from the program.

In addition to its feeding program, Westside Ministries also provides extracurricular activities such as their CUPS Ministry and 4-H program, as well as an after school program where students can work on homework and receive help if needed.

“It’s a safe environment for kids where they can be involved in activities and stay out of gang life,” said Murillo.

There are two ways through which community members can support Westside Ministries: donations and volunteering. Monetary donations can be given in person or by mail through checks, and online donations can be made at Volunteers are always needed, said Murillo, whether it be to help serve meals or help with events such as the organization’s Coats 4 Kids donation drive.

“These events happen through the help of volunteers,” said Murillo. “Without the community, we wouldn’t exist.”

The open house will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Westside Ministries, located at 950 Columbia St.